In Rural Burkina Faso
Geography & Climate
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in western Africa. The three primary rivers are the Nazinon, the Nakambé and the Mouhoun. The climate is tropical, with warm, dry winters and hot, rainy summers.
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. With few natural resources the Burkinabe are forced to travel to neighboring countries for seasonal agricultural work and to labor in mines and on plantations.
Children at Home
Typical rural houses are dome-shaped at the base, made of mud, and with a straw roof that comes to a pyramidal tip.
Up to 10 people typically live under the same roof. A number of related households may live together in a compound.
Old age and experience are highly regarded; generally the head and authority of the compound is a family elder.
Issues and Concerns
- Rural Burkina Faso lacks basic services like health centers, schools, water and electricity.
- The farther people live from urban areas, the tougher it is to find drinkable water.
- Chronic malnutrition is a pervasive concern for children.
- Rural families, who often can’t travel to urban medical centers, suffer the worst near the end of the growing season while waiting for harvest.
Local Needs and Challenges
This serious problem devastates much of the country’s crops, and many Compassion-assisted centers throughout Burkina Faso report cases of malnutrition among children.
Low education levels
In rural areas, girls often quit school to care for the family home. When parents can afford to send their children to school, many students must walk long distances to get there.
Throughout the rural areas, poor housing is common.
Children in border towns are particularly vulnerable to this evil.
Malaria and meningitis
These life-threatening illnesses are continual threats.
Schools and Education
- Education services are scarce and insufficient.
- School fees are very expensive, and many families cannot afford their children’s education.
- Only about one-third of Burkina Faso’s children are enrolled in elementary school and those are primarily in urban areas.
- Some tribal practices bar children, particularly girls, from school. Girls under 15 are frequently forced into early marriage and out of the school system.
- Pervasive poverty also dictates that children work, sometimes laboring in mines, rather than attend school.
Compassion Burkina Faso works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Child development centers provide registered children with a place to learn, grow and study.
Children whose families have never been able to offer them clean water, health care or an education now have access to these necessities.
Compassion-assisted children attend health classes, tutoring sessions and Bible studies at the center. They also spend time writing to and praying for their sponsors.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing real help and hope to impoverished children in rural Burkina Faso, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school. This is especially important in the northern communities where about 80 percent of youths work at the gold mining sites.
- parent education to make caregivers aware of the dangers their working children may face
- income-generating activities for parents so that even when rain is insufficient and crops are scarce, they can feed their children
- regular vaccinations and medicine for intestinal parasites
- insecticide-treated bed nets for protection from malaria-carrying mosquitoes